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Death by stars

‘Star ratings’ are meant to provide a simple, quick and honest measure of what’s good and what isn’t.

From books to music, hotels to footwear, you name it and someone has rated it. But just who was that ‘someone’? and how can we be sure their opinion was unbiased or fair?

You see, the problem is that just about anyone can say anything about everything nowadays. Sounds cool right? All that freedom of speech, all that transparency, all that democracy.

Well in theory the information free-for-all we call the internet is a wonderful thing.

Unless that is you’re a small family hotel picking up the pieces having watched your business being destroyed by the inaccurate rantings of a couple mad anoraks with nothing better to do!

Just how many terrible tracks have been lauded by a seemingly ecstatic fan who bares a striking resemblance to the PR junior in the record company’s A&R dept. And how many marvelous book reviews have been written by the publisher?

On-line, all is almost certainly, not what it seems.

So maybe the star rating system is a relic of the early internet. Maybe reviews and comment should only be considered if made by someone you know or have reason to trust.

Just as voters have become disillusioned with politicians, savers with banks and readers with journalists, it’s probably the case that users are beginning to take the impartiality of star ratings, along with unsolicited comments and reviews with a large pinch of salt.

Is “chaos” the new evil empire?

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